Hints of French and Italian cuisine mingle with Texas culinary traditions at Dino’s Steak and Claw House, where chefs deconstruct classic surf and turf inside a vintage bank building. In the kitchen, they slice fresh garlic and heirloom tomatoes between trips to the grill, which sizzles with 8-ounce beef fillets and 20-ounce porterhouses. Lobster can be ordered with a crabmeat crust or a puffy jacket of ravioli and a pistachio-froth scarf. Meals unfold atop white linen tablecloths dotted with fresh floral arrangements, and chandeliers illuminate the dining room with a glow as warm and inviting as a welcome mat made of jalapeños. Work by local artists accents the entire scene, and grand-piano ticklings turn up the classiness to a glass-shattering 11. A black-marble bar adds an extra layer of luxury, which extends to a patio made for al fresco dining.
The aroma of catfish filets frying in the kitchen wafts through Catfish Sam's and unites with the scents of hand-breaded-shrimp appetizers and charbroiled rib-eye steaks. Each table comes dressed with complimentary sides, including no-fat pinto beans, coleslaw, housemade yeast rolls, hush puppies, and green-tomato relish.
At Chop House Steak & Seafood, head chef Kenny Mills relies on the skills he's learned throughout his eclectic career, which included a stint operating the healthy, organic Natura Cafe in Uptown Dallas, as well as stops at steakhouses in Denver, Fort Worth, and DC. The menu reflects the chef's extensive experience with simple, yet elegant dishes, such as slow-smoked prime rib, Cajun rib eyes, mesquite-grilled salmon over lemon couscous, and tuna tartare tostadas.
Larry Walker knows seafood. The co-owner of The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake has sought game fish in more than 20 countries across the world and some of his greatest catches even adorn the eatery’s walls, including a massive black marlin that he snagged near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These maritime touches fit right in at a restaurant that floats atop the surface of Joe Pool Lake and serves a menu of pan-regional seafood dishes.
In addition to making shrimp gumbo and New England–style clam chowder, the chefs also create Tex-Mex fish tacos and beer-battered fish and chips. The selection even includes a handful of Southern staples from the land, such as barbecued brisket sandwiches and chicken-fried steak.
With the waters of Joe Pool Lake lying just beyond its walls, The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake features an outdoor patio area overlooking the surrounding shoreline. The eatery keeps diners engaged by hosting live entertainment in the form of bands and DJs, which get crowds up and dancing beneath the festively colored lights strung above the outdoor tables.
Circle S Catfish Grill is a labor of love for the Shipp family, with elder son Adam managing the day-to-day affairs, wife Kelli and parents Randy and Patti taking time from their retirement or teaching careers to pitch in, and younger brother Nick employing his training under Wolfgang Puck to design many of the recipes on the menu. Like a fancy state dinner with coloring-book placemats, the restaurant fuses a family-friendly ambience with elegant dishes, such as Angus beef sirloin, grilled salmon, or Nick's specialty bread pudding topped with crème aunglace. Collected artifacts of Americana, buzzing neon, and a huge flat-screen TV adorn the walls, surrounding vinyl and chrome furnishings that evoke the image of a mid-20th-century Route 66 diner. Freshly cut fries sidle up to plates of fried catfish or grilled chicken, and housemade salsas, tartar sauces, and cocktail sauces pair up with tilapia, chips, and succulent fried shrimp.
The Bottom has plenty of Fort Worth pride. The multiple flat-screen TVs attract flocks of TCU students and fans on game days, and the menu itself has items that pay homage to the fearsome Horned Frogs. There are the purple beer and the Polliwog: a frozen concoction named after the Old English term for a tadpole and made with secret ingredients that can only be revealed if the blender is kissed by a princess. Also in the bar, 35 taps represent breweries from nearby and afar, including Rahr & Sons, Shiner, Saint Arnold, and Stone.
In addition to the bar, this family-owned, community-oriented restaurant offers something for everyone. Saturday and Sunday brunch entice local families to stop by this neighborhood eatery. Outside, guests can unwind on the spacious patio and enjoy gigantic burgers and Southwestern apps and entrees amid leafy palms at tables in both the shade and the sun.